My best friend and I have been friends since we were 12 years old, so we often call on each other to shine the light when we feel a little lost. Recently, she shared with me her fear that she should be further along in her new business venture than she feels she is. Naturally, yet covertly, we worked through the Third Ear Conflict Resolution program.
First, we identified the conflict. She was in conflict with herself about what she should be doing. Coaches Nancy Mindes and Brooke Emery call this “shoulding all over.” It just makes a mess.
Ideally, my friend wanted to feel more excited about and confident in her recent decisions.
I suggested that she could feel more excited and confident if she was benchmarking her progress based on her own plan, not someone else’s–especially when that “someone else” was not similarly situated. Her benchmarks were people pursuing similar ventures full time, where my friend is pursuing it in her spare time after her full-time job, after training for a cross-state bike ride that raises funds for the Arthritis Foundation and after all of her other commitments to home and family.
Once she recognized that she was measuring herself with a tool that didn’t fit her situation, she began to see that the primary barrier between her current situation and her ideal was her mind. Wonderfully, this is something she can easily work with.
She instantly decided to develop her own plan, so she could chart her progress based on the unique goals she created for herself and her personal circumstances.
When we last spoke, she was stating the very specific, measurable steps she would take toward her goal.
She was also memorializing her plan in writing.
She is simultaneously taking some of the steps.
I will call her tonight to see how she is doing.
As necessary, I will help her stay on “PARR” (plan, act, revise, repeat).
Each of us makes commitments based on our own wants and needs. Are you making commitments because you want to–or because you should? If you’re “shoulding” on yourself, ask yourself why you should make that commitment. Is it to satisfy your wants and needs, either directly or indirectly? Which wants? Which needs? If you can’t articulate your answers with clarity and in specific terms, you may want to reconsider your decision. You probably won’t be highly successful at fulfilling a commitment you really didn’t want to make. You don’t want to abandon your integrity, of course, but you may also find transitioning from a commitment that does not satisfy your wants and needs will free you to give more to your family, your job, your friends, and your community. And the next time you are asked to make a commitment, you will be more likely to say no to those that you are doing to please or silence someone rather than to give your best and be your best.
Nance L. Schick, Esq. is a New York City attorney and mediator who focuses on keeping people out of court and building their conflict resolution skills, especially in business and employment disputes. Her holistic, integrative approach to conflict resolution draws from her experience as a crime victim, human resources supervisor, minor league sports agent, litigant, and trial attorney. She is a 2001 graduate of the State University of New York Buffalo Law School trained in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).